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New guide shows how to hire and retain female workers

0 49 Labour

The Industry Training Authority of B.C. has issued its Best Practices Guide for hiring and retaining women and tips for increasing the size of the available labour pool.

The Industry Training Authority of B.C. has issued its Best Practices Guide for hiring and retaining women and tips for increasing the size of the available labour pool.

The guide indicates it does not promote hiring women over men, but seeks to establish an equitable workplace.

It states that employers reported that without increasing the size of the labour pool, “businesses will increasingly have to bring in temporary foreign workers on a short term basis, when they would prefer to hire locally.”

The guide said that in discussions with employers and women in trades, “it is clear there are still gender-specific barriers in the workforce.”

The guide states that women face a harder time finding and retaining work in the trades.

It also includes suggestions for employers:

• When hiring, advertise in multiple locations that broaden the reach. Employers should include a photo on their website showing employee diversity;

• When conducting the interviews, ask the same questions of male and female applicants. Use a mixed group of staff to carry out the interviews. Don’t ask personal questions such as marital status, number of children, daycare arrangements, or religious views as this transcends human rights;

• WorkSafeBC Occupational Health and Safety regulations require an employer give an employee a full workplace orientation. The guide suggests that new hires be linked up with a trainer, mentor or an individual, who can answer questions that arise. During the orientation, the employer can also set out expectations related to the new employee’s role, work and safety procedures, required tools and standard of behaviour;

• Women have smaller feet, hands and head than men, so employers should source personal protection equipment (PPE) in different sizes. Men’s gloves, for example, are generally too wide in the fingers and palms for women. The guide provides a list of PPE manufacturers, who cater to women workers;

  • The guide makes it clear that employers should make employees aware that bullying or aggressive behavior will not be tolerated. “Suggest that if there is any unwelcome behavior, employees should confront the individual(s) and request for it to stop,” it states. If the actions continue, it should be brought to the supervisor’s attention and documented;
  • Employers report that often younger staff has an increased need for recognition and feedback. This impacts communication skills, and the ability to let the employee know when things are going well and not so well; and
  • Family friendly policies can go a long way in retaining staff and the guide notes that the gender balance of family care is shifting, so such policies can benefit both men and women.

Flexibility in starting or finishing times can also aid men and women, who drop off and pick up children at daycare.

JOC NEWS SERVICE

by Journal Of Commerce

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